The longevity sector is showing signs of being taken more seriously. On Tuesday, Mehmood Khan, vice chairman and chief scientific officer of PepsiCo, announced he’s joining Life Biosciences, a startup dedicated to “age-reversal.” Khan will become the startup’s CEO and a member of its board of directors.
Life Biosciences raised more than $75 million to research treatments for age-related decline. The company says it brings together the world’s leading scientists and researchers to increase life-spans and reduce disease for everyone, “including companion animals.” It was cofounded in 2017 by Harvard geneticist David Sinclair and former hedge fund manager Tristan Edwards, and backed by WeWork’s Adam Neumann.
During his time at PepsiCo, corporate veteran Khan led R&D efforts and oversaw the brand’s global sustainability initiatives. That a young company such as Life Biosciences is able to attract Fortune 500 talent speaks to the maturity of the longevity industry.
As Fast Company previously reported, there are now entire multi-day conventions dedicated to “curing” aging and increasing humanity’s life-span. In addition, numerous startups attempt to capitalize on the elderly’s quest to stay young. This includes Calico, the antiaging company that spun out of Google’s Alphabet, and Unity Biotechnology, a startup dedicated to removing the body’s retired cells.
Last year, Life Extension Foundation founder Bill Faloon made headlines for advertising a pay-to-play clinical trial that offered the elderly blood infusions from young donors. The fountain of youth trial, which showed promising results in mice, cost $285,000 to participate in.
“What we’re looking at is evidence that for the first time in human history, there’s a population-wide delayed effect of aging,” Faloon said at RAADfest (Revolution Against Aging and Death), a longevity conference, this past fall.
Humanity may be far from cracking the immortality code, but there has been progress. In 1776, the average life expectancy was just 35 years. By 1900, that number grew to 47.3 years. Soon after 2000, it inched past 77, reports the National Center for Health Statistics.
There’s certainly a market for senior citizens looking to not only expand their time on Earth, but to improve quality of life during their latter years. Researchers confirm that the number of Americans 65 or older increased tenfold in the last century, with the elderly living substantially longer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adds that fewer die today from major diseases compared to just 40 years ago.